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Women's WC PICS: Norway sink Australia in shoot-out

June 23, 2019 11:05 IST

Norway's players celebrate after winning the match

IMAGE: Norway's players celebrate after defeating Australia in the penalty shoot-out. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Norway beat Australia 4-1 on penalties to reach the women's World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2007 following a highly-entertaining 1-1 draw after extra time on Saturday.

Norway's Isabell Herlovsen opened the scoring shortly after the half hour but Elise Kellond-Knight's direct corner seven minutes from time sent the game into extra time -- during which Australia's Alanna Kennedy was sent off.

 

Australia missed their first two spot-kicks in the shootout and Ingrid Syrstad Engen buried the winning penalty to send Norway through.

They will face either England or Cameroon for a place in the last four.

"I'm really content with how we handled all this pressure and stress," Norway coach Martin Sjogren told a news conference.

Australia coach Ante Milicic was understandably devastated for his team.

"I don't know if there are any words to describe how I'm feeling but, more importantly, how the girls are feeling," he said.

Australia set a high tempo from the start and went close in the opening minute when Sam Kerr collected a through ball from Caitlin Foord and fired just wide.

But it was Norway who found the back of the net first as Karina Saevik played Herlovsen in and the striker finished clinically in the 31st minute.

There had to be VAR action and it happened five minutes from the interval when a ball bounced off Maria Thorisdottir's shoulder and referee Riem Hussein awarded Australia a penalty -- a decision that was overturned after a three-minute VAR review.

For all their slick passing, the Matildas proved quite toothless in the area, having managed only a single shot on target by the hour mark.

But Kellond-Knight sent a corner straight into the far corner of the net with seven minutes left, only her second goal in 110 appearances for her country, to send the game to extra time.

Caroline Graham Hansen's fierce shot was tipped over the bar by Australia keeper Lydia Williams in the 99th as both teams attacked relentlessly and Kennedy was shown a straight red card for bringing down Lisa-Marie Utland as she rushed towards goal.

Vilde Boe Risa attempted a long-range lob that landed on the crossbar as Australia struggled physically but they hung on for dear life to force the shootout

Kerr and Emily Gielnik missed the first two attempts and Norway kept cool heads to book their place in the last eight.

Centurion Popp leads Germany into QF

Alexander Popp

IMAGE: Alexandra Popp celebrates scoring Germany's third goal. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Double champions Germany, inspired by skipper Alexandra Popp, continued their unbeaten run at the women’s World Cup by beating Nigeria 3-0 to qualify for the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Popp, winning her 100th cap, and Sara Daebritz netted in quick succession in the first half with Lea Schueller wrapping it up late on to set up a meeting with Sweden or Canada.

Popp headed home after 20 minutes and Daebritz doubled the tally with a penalty seven minutes later, with VAR being used for both goals. Schueller added the third on 86 minutes as the African champions ran out of gas.

The only team along with the U.S. not to concede a goal in the tournament, Germany have now reached the last eight at every women’s World Cup.

"That first goal gave us some safety, but then we allowed Nigeria to get back into the game a little bit. After the break, we were very dominant," said player-of-the-match Popp.

Dzsenifer Marozsan, recovering from a foot injury, started on the bench but the Olympique Lyonnais player was confident she would soon be ready to play.

"Now I might even be able to come back. It will remain painful for weeks, but I am not scared," she said.

"I probably cannot play an entire match but I was happy I was not needed today."

Germany controlled the midfield against the Nigerians and were quickly rewarded.

Popp broke the deadlock from Lina Magull’s corner, the goal being awarded after a VAR review ruled there was no offside.

Magull was then brought down by Evelyn Nwabuoku and VAR confirmed the penalty call before Daebritz coolly converted.

Nigeria offered more of a challenge after conceding the second goal and came close to reducing the arrears early in the second half when substitute teenager Rasheedat Ajibade burst down the left flank in impressive fashion only for Desire Oparanozie to just fail to connect with the cross.

Forward Popp dropped down to midfield as Germany protected their lead and Schueller intercepted a poor back-pass to make it 3-0 with a clinical finish eight minutes from time.

"I think we showed the whole world that Nigeria have a team that has improved a lot," said Nigeria coach Thomas Dennerby.

"Of course you’re not satisfied to go out but you also have to recognise where we came from – and we’re just not ready yet."

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